Gio Aplon and Philip Snyman will return to the strong Springbok Sevens squad as it bids to cap a best ever season by clinching a first IRB Sevens World Series title, finishing strongly at the final two events in London on 23-24 May and Edinburgh on 30-31 May.
Paul Treu’s side, which will be captained by Mzwandile Stick, leads the standings by 28 points from closest rivals England and needs just 13 Series points to secure the overall title, but has been handed two tough pool draws at Twickenham and Murrayfield.
In London they face resurgent Australia, World Cup-winners Wales and Germany, and a week later at Murrayfield they line up on day one against defending champions New Zealand, France and the USA.
"The first day of the London tournament is crucial," said coach Treu. "If we’re not 100 per cent focused on the task at hand we can make life very difficult for ourselves.
“We have to learn from our mistakes, as well as those of other teams who have stumbled over the last hurdle. That is why we’re going over to Britain with the aim of getting 40 points, not just the 13 we need to win the series.”
So far this season South Africa and New Zealand have clashed four times with the Boks successful on three occasions - in the George tournament final and the quarter finals in San Diego and Adelaide. The kiwis' victory came on home soil in Wellington.
“It’s been a tough season," said Bok coach Paul Treu. "In winning three tournaments we had to overcome very strong teams like Fiji, England, New Zealand and a resurgent Kenya.
“Psychologically it’s been one of our toughest seasons to date. We’ve never been in this situation – going into the final two tournaments with an opportunity to clinch the series.
One of the key factors in South Africa's best ever year has been continuity of selection, stemming from the fact that all of Treu's players are centrally-contracted Sevens players.
“We’re fortunate that we’ve used only 17 players this season. That says a lot about how they’ve been managed," he said.
"However, a strong and settled squad won’t neccesarily win you tournaments – everyone has to be at their best and committed to the task."
The Springbok Sevens are preparing for their final assault this season at their base in Stellenbosch, leaving for London on Saturday 16 May.
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